I have been too busy traveling and writing to write.

My research and writing for a future book has taken up much of my time. Blogs get neglected when there are other things to do.


I would be remiss, at least in my own mind, if I didn’t post a few snaps.

I popped over to Laos and Cambodia recently.  I went to Laos to see the brand new botanic garden Pha Tad Ke, near Luang Prabang. I intend to write more about this, the first botanic garden in the Laos PDR.

a new sign will be forthcoming

It is a 25 minute boat ride on the Mekong River from Luang Prabang to PTK.



Laos is a Buddhist, Animist, Socialist Republic.


Bulbophyllum sp.


Just 30% of the plants of Laos have been studied. Given that the country has one of the most diverse and profuse floras in the world, and slash and burn agriculture is devastating  the countryside, there is much to do.

About 485 species of orchids are native to Laos. There well may be many more. The garden has collected 250 species mostly Bulbophyllum and Dendrobium and they are on display in two shade houses.



Looking across the Palm Collection to the range of mountains and limestone karsts.



Skeletonized leaves embroidered with gold thread.


Rik Gadella, the garden’s creator, founder and general manager is an extraordinary man with an extraordinary vision. He and his staff are creating one of the most important and beautiful gardens in the world. Go there.

Link to the garden’s website – Pha Tad Ke

I then followed the Mekong to Siem Reap, Cambodia, to Angkor Wat, Prasat Pram, and the great wetland of Tonle Sap.

Angkor Wat


Thousands of tourists get up before dawn to see the sun rise over the temples. Once the sun is risen they seem to spend about half an hour wandering around and then head back to their hotels for breakfast.

I, being better than that, spent a couple of hours there. Self-righteous eco-voyeurism is such fun.


I preferred  Prasat Pram,a complex of five temples built in the 10th century, three of which are extant. There were few people there.

One of the temples is built of brick.


The glory of these temples is the tree roots that wrap themselves around the buildings.



On, then, to the great wetland of Tonle Sap where we tourists are taken in longboats to peer at people in the floating villages.



Beyond the village is the wild wetland. Full of rare birds. Spot-billed Pelican, Oriental Darter, Greater Adjutant and Painted Stork. And plants – Barrintonia acutangula, Croton caudatus, Dalbergia pinnata ,to name three.


What an honor to be there. To see all of it. Even ever so briefly.

Author: urbanehorticulture

A native of England a U.S. citizen for the past 30 years, I have worked in the garden world as a director and designer for over 35 years. I am best-known for my groundbreaking designs at Chanticleer, an estate and “pleasure garden” in Wayne, PA, where I worked for 20 years. Career Highlights I started my gardening life at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, England, where I was trained as a gardener. I worked in three other gardens in the UK, notably Portmeirion in Wales, Bateman’s in Sussex, and Cliveden in Buckinghamshire. At Bateman’s, I was responsible for the restoration of the 17th-century garden. I came to the U.S. in 1981 and was director and chief designer of Chanticleer in Pennsylvania for the next 20 years. I transformed a moribund private estate into one of America’s most exuberant, romantic and flamboyant gardens. Its glorious 47 acres have been celebrated by gardeners and horticulturists from around the world and, based on my designs, it continues to draw international visitors every season. After twenty years creating Chanticleer, I became vice president for horticulture for the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden and, in 2006, was appointed director of the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada. While pleased to be in Canada, my heart yearned for California and in 2008 he was appointed executive director of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden. After a successful period in northern California, he returned to his home near Santa Barbara, CA where I operated my own design-consulting business. In 2012, I was lured back east by The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (founded in 1827) and appointed director of its private estate and garden, Meadowbrook Farm. I was commissioned by PHS to design the central feature for the 2013 Philadelphia Flower Show, the third major exhibit I have designed for PHS over the years. Among numerous other responsibilities, I have been a member of the board of the Fairmount Park Conservancy in Philadelphia and a founding member of the business advisory board for the Flora of North America Project. I have designed gardens in Chicago, northern and southern California, and throughout the Northeastern United States. I have also been a consultant to the Garden Conservancy and to Botanic Gardens Conservation International, as well as serving on the horticulture advisory committee of Lotusland in Santa Barbara, California. I have been the Advancement Advisor for the Flora of North America Association and am now traveling the world researching, interviewing, and photographing for a book on gardens around the world. Books & Awards My n first book, The Encyclopedia of Perennials, was published in 1992 by Facts on File. I also contributed to 1001 Gardens to See Before You Die (Barron's Educational Series, 2012) and The Gardener’s Garden (Phaidon Press, 2014). In 2003, I was awarded the Professional Citation for significant achievements in public horticulture by the American Public Garden Association. In 2007, The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society awarded me its prestigious medal for Distinguished Achievement. I currently live in the Bay Area, California.

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The New Perennialist

Musings on plants, gardens, travel, food and sex. Mostly plants and gardens.


for people who want more than gardening from gardens


Uprooting the Gardening World

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